Sometimes Dragons

Monki Gras Returns

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Banner for Monki Gras 2024

This year marks the much-anticipated return of Monki Gras, the conference about craft and tech culture, after a bit of a hiatus. Happening March 14-15 in London and run by our very own James Governor (Monkchips), Monki Gras 2024 is all about Prompting Craft. Or, in prompt form, we aim to:

>_create a warm, inclusive tech conference about craft, AI and social, with prompt engineering as key theme. have really good food and incredible beer.

I, for one, am beyond excited to have Monki Gras back on the calendar this year. As I have written previously, I had the opportunity to speak at Monki Gras and its sister conference, The Monktoberfest, before I was even a monk. It is one of the reasons I work at RedMonk–I never have to worry about missing out on a ticket!–and an event that without fail brings together truly brilliant and delightful people.

However, it has been a few years since we all last gathered in London. And so, for those of you who have never experienced a Monki Gras before–and especially for those of you who might be on the fence about attending this year–here are a few things you should know about Monki Gras 2024.

This year’s theme is “Prompting Craft: the art of the prompt in code and cultural creation”

While generative AI has been the talk of the town for well over a year now, this year’s Monki Gras promises its own brilliant take on the space. From the conference homepage:

At Monki Gras we will “go meta”. We’re always interested in what one discipline can learn from another. “Prompting Craft” is a proxy for an event which looks at AI adoption beyond just LLMs and GPT. We don’t want to get too bogged down in “prompt engineering” – the first accepted talk was actually about how a parent prompts her young children to do things. Of course kids can be even more unruly than the large language models we use. Inputs and outputs, what can you do with a prompt? We’ll also consider governance, economic and cultural aspects of the new technologies – because tech is always adopted in a social context.

That’s what the conference will be about – Prompting Craft.

As AI has become a hot topic beyond the tech industry per se, I find this broader view to be both apt and intriguing.

The speakers list is unbelievably good

To quote James in a previous conference preview

Our talks are going to be amazing.

Seriously, how can the talks NOT be amazing with a speakers list like this?

And while we haven’t published talk titles ahead of time, at least one speaker has dropped a hint about their talk topic:

Screenshot of LinkedIn post from Patrick Debois with the following text: wooohooo ! Your talk : A good picture tells a thousands words - yet a thousand words don't make a good picture, has been selected for Monkigras 2024. 🚀 This time I'll be talking about the Image & Video generation side of genAI and will show to go beyond the prompt to really get the image you want.

And, quite frankly, I can’t wait to see whatever brilliant talk comes out of this rockstar collaboration:

Monkchips is a most excellent host

James is an absolute foodie, so when he promises “really good food and incredible beer,” it is no idle promise. Past Monki Gras attendees have been treated to cheese mountains, afternoon tea, craft (of course) coffee, gourmet food trucks, and really, really good beer (I am partial to past conference selections from The Kernel).

And it looks like James has been doing his research for this year’s event as well:

The Hallway Track

Monki Gras is a single-track conference that makes a point of allowing ample time for attendees to just chat. And while I don’t have access to the attendee list, based on social media chatter I would totally get on a plane and cross an ocean just to chat with some of the folks who will be in attendance:

The FOMO is real

Confession time: because Monki Gras is taking place a little later in the year than it has in the past (mid-March instead of late January/early February), yours truly committed to a conflicting event and will not be able to attend this year. And let me tell you: the FOMO is very, very real.

But what to do if you can’t make it (like me)? I plan to live vicariously through the social media posts of all of my much wiser colleagues who did not doublebook themselves and will be at the event. ICYMI, Rachel Stephens will be speaking. Stephen O’Grady will be there as well, along with a few other monks.

I am also handling my FOMO by aggressively blocking my calendar for Q1 of 2025 so that I don’t miss Monki Gras next year.

One more thing

Many thanks to our Monki Gras 2024 sponsors, including AWS, Civo, Deepset, the CNCF, Neo4j, MongoDB, Akamai, Griptape, Pagerduty, and the amazing Betty Junod (who personally sponsored a round of delicious beer)

Want to know more about Monki Gras? Here are some resources on Monki Gras past:

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